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Thursday, 28 June 2012


Long ago I was with Telecom New Zealand, which was so bad that I called Telecom Rex, or T. Rex for short. But recently because I was getting far worse service from another provider I decided to change back to TelstraClear, but between the two of them they so messed up my voice and Internet lines that they managed to cut them off, and said I could not get them back for 30 days. In trying to get all that sorted out, I happened to called Telecom, and to my astonishment got superb service and was up and running again in a tad over nothing flat.

But there was a horrid fly in that lovely jar of ointment, because in this neck of the woods, thanks to governments that took a while to realise that we really are in the twenty-first century, I cannot get broadband till 2015, so I have to use dialup.

Telecom told me that its dialup service was $9.99 a month for <i>unlimited access.</i> It lied. Because my Internet line kept cutting me off. The physical line was checked by Chorus and found to be excellent. But then I realised, because I happened to be staring at the screen precisely twenty-four hours after I had connected, that it was cutting me off at that mark. A bit more testing confirmed it beyond all doubt.

Telecom's dialup system has a programmed timeout. It will not run for anyone for more than twenty-four hours. Then it disconnects you and you have to dial back, which means you will probably lose the download you were running and have to start it all over again, and if it is one that will take longer than twenty-four hours it is impossible.

At first Telecom denied that it has a timeout programmed in to its dialup service. Then it checked with Alcatel, its supplier, and found that there was.

But it refused, point-blank, to take it out. All it has to do is remove a line or two of program. But it refuses. It wants to be offering us an 'unlimited' dialup 'service' that is limited to twenty-four-hour chunks. It wants to cut you off. It obviously likes being the marketing department for its competitors. That is, in effect, its policy.

When it told me that, I called the Commerce Commission. Now, I hope, Telecom will discover, once again, that there are laws in New Zealand. A service must be of merchantible quality, and you are not allowed to lie to customers, to mislead them with 'unlimited' when they will get only twenty-four-hour chunks.

Then I looked up the Yellow Pages, and saw a company that has no idea of how to create an attractive name, and calls itself NooZoo (0800 151 111), but offers a seven-day free trial of its dialup service. After having been badly bitten by Telecom that was a very attractive offer, so I signed up and changed my ISP ASAP.

NooZoo said it does not have a timeout (Telecom, according to someone who knows the industry, is the only dialup provider that does), and its service runs at a very good speed, and it costs only $9.95 a month. I shall drive it mercilessly for a week, and if it keeps doing what it is doing now, NooZoo will have my dialup account.

I do have to pay for at least three months after that, but that is fair, given that the free trial enables me to know exactly what I shall be getting.

The only drawback is that NooZoo has no mail-servers, so Outlook cannot be used on it, but I have an account with a very good mailserver provider elsewhere (DigiWeb), so $5 a month solves that problem.

Telecom has yet to get it into its entire head that if you treat customers badly you make them customers of someone else. If the dialup part of its empire was as good as the people handling the other services that I have with it, it would be brilliant. But its dialup is disgusting. Steer clear of it. Unless you like being deliberately cut off.

(Footnote: Noo Zoo's dialup did run and run and run and run and run, at a very impressive throughput, so the sparrow easily defeated T. Rex. I signed up, and dumped TR.)